Welcome to Mid-City and Bayou St. John
Getting Here and Around
From downtown there are two easy ways to get into Mid-City: Canal Street or Esplanade Avenue, both of which border the French Quarter. There are two streetcar lines that run down Canal Street: one will take you straight down Canal to Metairie Cemetery, and the other will turn down Carrollton Avenue and deposit you right in front of City Park. The No. 91 Jackson-Esplanade bus, which you can catch anywhere along Rampart Street in the French Quarter, turns onto Esplanade Avenue, stops near the Degas House, and also takes you right by City Park. The streetcar ride from downtown takes approximately 30 minutes. Allow about 15 minutes for the bus ride down Esplanade.
Making the Most of Your Time
City Park and the Mid-City cemeteries are generally open during daylight hours, but the outdoor patios of Esplanade Avenue restaurants and cafés stay open well into the night. Allow yourself at least half a day and start in the afternoon, so you can enjoy both activities. City Park is one of the largest urban parks in the nation, and you could easily spend much of your time exploring its art collections, hiking trails, vintage carousel, botanical gardens, and gondola rides.
Things can change from cute to creepy in the span of a block or two, so exercise good judgment if you go walking off major streets. The areas around Bayou St. John and City Park tend to be safe, especially during daylight hours, but areas closer to Broad Street (which runs roughly parallel to the bayou about half a mile south toward the French Quarter) are rougher, and should definitely be avoided on foot at night. Carrollton Avenue is the main thoroughfare through Mid-City (and connects to the Uptown and Carrollton-Riverbend neighborhoods) and is usually well trafficked, but elsewhere in the neighborhood it's advisable to drive at night.
Top Reasons to Go
Explore City Park. This gorgeous and sprawling park is home to dozens of attractions, including a museum, sculpture garden, and amusement park.
Take a cemetery tour. Mid-City has some of the largest, safest, and best-kept cemeteries in New Orleans.
Stroll along Bayou St. John. The grassy banks offer biking and walking trails and splendid views of some of the most historic and lovely homes and landmarks in the city.
Fair Grinds Coffeehouse. Just off Esplanade Avenue, Fair Grinds Coffeehouse is the neighborhood spot for fair-trade coffee, tea, and snacks—including vegan treats. There's an upstairs balcony for alfresco dining, and live music at least twice a week. 3133 Ponce de Leon St., Bayou St. John, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70119. 504/913–9072; www.fairgrinds.com.
Finn McCool's Irish Pub. This convivial spot is more than just your average corner bar: it streams European soccer games (opening as early as 7 am to do so) and hosts a popular trivia night on Monday. The kitchen serves sophisticated pub food. 3701 Banks St., Mid-City, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70119. 504/486–9080; www.finnmccools.com.
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